Provider Spotlight: Bluegrass Oxygen fills compliance niche

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Monday, June 1, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. – When Mike Marnhout, who has worked in home  care since 1980, opened his first HME company in 1982, his parents took a second mortgage on their house and loaned him the money with one condition: that he would never turn anyone away, whether they could afford to pay or not.

To this day (2020 marks 40 years in the industry), he’s kept his word, said Marnhout, CEO of Bluegrass Oxygen.

Founded in 1996, Bluegrass Oxygen accepts all insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, and offers home ventilator care, as well as oxygen therapy, sleep therapy and neb aerosol therapy. Its four locations service more than 75 counties in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

Over the last seven or eight years, Bluegrass has re-focused its attention from oxygen to sleep, which makes up 60% of its business.

“We’re at 80% compliance post-90 days and we’ve got about 12,000 patients,” said Marnhout.

To keep patients compliant, Bluegrass Oxygen uses ResMed’s patient monitoring programs and good old-fashioned education.

As to whether Bluegrass Oxygen will reinvent itself again, Marnhout says he’s happy with where the company is.

“We’re filling a niche—not many people do compliance like we do,” he said. “Four out of five people are going to be compliant, so that’s one of the things that gets us most of our referrals.”

When Marnhout opened his first business 38 years ago, there wasn’t much competition, he says. That’s as true today as it was then.

“The big boys—the Lincares and the Aprias—are going to last; the regional companies are going to last; and little mom and pops are going to be gone,” said Marnhout. “What we’re doing—the resupply business—is the best thing for us.”